Storm taking loss to Warriors very hard - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm taking loss to Warriors very hard

By John Salvado 16/09/2008 04:50:29 PM Comments (0)

Make no mistake, Melbourne's shock NRL qualifying final loss to the NZ Warriors really hurt.

So much so that several Storm players took the defeat even harder than the 2006 grand final loss to Brisbane, the team they come up against in a cut-throat NRL playoff match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

After claiming a record third straight minor premiership, Melbourne were expected to cruise through to a home preliminary final by downing the eighth-ranked Warriors.

But Michael Witt's unlikely 78th-minute try secured an 18-15 New Zealand victory at Olympic Park, putting their campaign for back-to-back titles on a knife edge.

"If we don't learn a lesson from that game then we shouldn't even bother going up to Brisbane," Storm skipper Cameron Smith said on Tuesday.

"A couple of the boys said it was one of the most disappointing feelings they've had after a match in their whole career and that was pretty much across the board how the guys felt.

"We really need to go to Brisbane with a better attitude this week and it started well today at training.

"It was brought up by a couple of people this week that they felt worse than they did in `06.

"That's a big call after losing a grand final but I think it's because of the performance that we put in.

"We knew we could play better but we just didn't."

Melbourne are confident forwards Ryan Hoffman (ankle) and Jeff Lima (knee) will be fit to play against the Broncos, with both named in the team.

The only change was on the bench, with forward Sika Manu replacing Scott Anderson.

NSW Origin star Hoffman was forced off the field early in Sunday's loss to the Warriors.

"I was thinking, here we go again, all the hard work I did leading into the game coming back from the old injury has gone down the drain," said Hoffman.

"But I'm giving myself the best opportunity to play and I'm really confident."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said both sides in last Sunday's clash at Olympic Park had got away with a few grapple tackles in addition to the three penalties adjudicated against his side by referee Jason Robinson.

And he was unsurprised that Warriors' captain Steve Price spent much of the match in the ear of the referee.

"If you listen in the Rabbits Ears to any game Steve Price plays, he never shuts up and he's always whingeing about something," said Bellamy.

"Against us it's probably the grapple and I imagine he does that against a couple of other teams that are high up in that list .. that's part of Steve's game."

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